News, dates and events from the TLRI 
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Issue 21, November 2015

2015 funding decisions

Six projects have been funded in the 2015 round. 

The fund attracted 38 Expressions of Interest applications and of those, 20 were invited to submit a full proposal (one did not do so). The successful and unsuccessful project teams have been informed and the list of projects will be announced later in the year.

The overall quality of applications was high. The six-person selection panel commented on the diversity of topics covered by the proposals recommended for funding. By sector, there are four schooling projects and two projects which span tertiary and schooling. Many projects have a focus on priority learners.  

TLRI Project Plus

NZCER senior researcher Sue McDowall discusses the latest TLRI Project Plus publication, Literacy research that matters, which is a review of 18 literacy-related TLRI projects in the early childhood and school sector between 2003 and 2014. 
You can read the report here.

Colloquium with Ako Aotearoa

TLRI held a two-day colloquium with Ako Aotearoa at the Te Wharewaka on Wellington's waterfront from August 31 to September 1. The event is an opportunity for project teams working in the Ako Aotearoa National Project Fund and the TLRI to share news and reflections from their projects, to develop capabilities in terms of presenting and sharing their work, and to identify potential synergies between different works in progress. It's the fifth in the series and the third time Ako Aotearoa and TLRI have worked together to host it.

Five TLRI project teams presented, along with a joint TLRI-NPF project and 13 NPF project teams.
Pictured above from left are some of the project team members who presented: Michael Dudding, Sydney Shep, Stephanie Budgett, Maxine Pfannkuch, Greg Oates, Mavis Haigh, David Berg, Alex Gunn, Rosemary Hipkins (NZCER), Beverley Cooper, Mira Peter, Graeme Cosslett (NZCER) and Jo MacDonald (NZCER).

Investigating the impact of TLRI

Since its inception in 2003, the TLRI initiative has funded 125 projects. While some analysis and synthesis work has been undertaken across the projects, there has not been a systematic attempt to investigate the overall impact of this body of work. NZCER chief researcher Rose Hipkins (pictured) is leading a project to address this gap. The project will take a wide view of impact, including knowledge-building impacts; growth of educational research skills across the sector; and impacts on teaching and learning. It also aims to build systems-level insights about impacts across the projects and over time. 
Rose will be contacting project leaders of 12 randomly selected TLRI projects completed between 2005 and 2015. For projects that agree to participate, there are two main data gathering activities  – a survey that is open to all members of the project team, and interviews with up to four members of the team. The project will be undertaken from November 2015 to April 2016.

Key TLRI dates for 2016

Call for Expressions of Interest Tuesday 1 March 2016
Closing date for Expressions of Interest 5pm, Thursday 5 May 2016
Applicants notified of shortlisting decision  Friday 24 June 2016
Closing date for Full Proposals  5pm, Thursday 18 August 2016
Applicants notified of funding decision Tuesday 11 October 2016
TLRI funding commences for 2016 funding recipients January 2017, or as in contract

Digital learning symposium 

In June the TLRI held a symposium with the Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato. The symposium was attended by about 40 researchers and some teachers.

The aim was to showcase TLRI projects that focus on digital literacy and provide an opportunity for researchers to connect and learn from each other's research and discuss future directions. Nine TLRI teams gave presentations on their projects covering diverse topics such as: media studies, literacy learning, flipped classrooms, engagement among engineering students, threshold concepts and modern learning environments.

The session was introduced by Associate Professor Garry Falloon of the University of Waikato, who discussed the pattern of "device-led hype" in how schools take up technology. There was a tendency for decisions about technology to be made by word of mouth, the latest hype in the media or for a sense of "up-to-datedness".

"We are good adopters but not good questioners," he said.

He saw the TLRI as a great vehicle for doing research alongside schools to explore the theoretical underpinnings of technology for learning. But the onus was on researchers to get the research findings out to schools in clear language, rather than targeting it solely at academic journals that were not accessible to teachers.

Garry is pictured above with students Tiara-Charli and Summer, from the school where he has been carrying out digital learning research.

The presentations were divided into tertiary and school-focused projects. You can read more 

TLRI at NZARE in Whaktane

We are in Whakatane for the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) conference. A number presentations will be given on TLRI projects and Sue McDowall will be talking about her review of the TLRI literacy projects. Head to the NZCER stand for more information.

Photo: Ulrich Lange, reproduced under Creative Commons licence by-sa

TLRI online

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Copyright © 2015 NZCER, All rights reserved.

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